11.4.07

my responsibility?

Twenty or thirty years ago our access to world issues was limited to the papers and televised news coverage. It was easy to be unaware of major conflicts or human crisis outside of your own nation or region.

But today things are different. With the advent of the internet there is nothing too obscure. This week the Holocaust Museum and the Google Earth launched a campaign to highlight the genocide taking place in Darfur. You can actually see satellite images of destroyed villages and refugee camps. Go to the BBC News for the article.


The question of individual responsibility to humanitarian causes is a personal one. We each have our own set of ethics and values. Although many of us share similarities in these values due to our shared cultural and political backgrounds, how we react to situations is an individual choice.

I grew up in an environment where my family worked in community development. As a young adult I entered into a two year volunteer contract to do environmental health work in rural Jamaica. Since then I’ve worked in social work and community development in the States and am now involved in mental health education. These experiences have shaped my view of the world and my sense of social responsibility.

Yet I struggle to now what to do; to asses my place and responsibility in light of atrocities like the ongoing conflict in Darfur. One of the things that I try to be aware of is the sheer luck of my being borne into a place and time where social inequity does not inhibit my basic needs. I have also tried to find employment where I can be an asset to society and not focus my efforts on material profit. And still I feel that I am doing nothing.

So perhaps this is political, and perhaps the departure from my surfing adventures turns off some of my readers. But I feel it is my duty to continue to pass on this vital information about the Darfur region because we can’t ignore it. As the world becomes more connected through globalization and communications, we are all more and more intricately linked. Our actions today will have impacts tomorrow. I would like to imagine that if I was ever faced with a life where my government was trying to kill me and all of my loved ones that someone out there would do something to help.

In the links below you will find both information about the current conflicts and also ways that you can do something to help. Dialog is of utmost importance.

Darfur Perpective
http://www.ushmm.org/conscience/alert/darfur/contents/01-overview/

What can you do?
http://www.ushmm.org/conscience/alert/darfur/what/

2 comments:

Mick said...

Ras, the joke is this is a cycle that repeats itself.In my blog I repeated a story: (Its in November 06) I wrote it in 1990 after seeing a news report on Eritrea. Seventeen years later, things are the same. I remember Biafra in the early 70's, and on and on.
Good on you for reminding us of the ties that bind us all.

Foulweather... said...

Ras, it shouldn't put anyone off but it might. I think a lot of surfers live in cloud cookoo land and fail to tune into some of the shit they may see on their travels. Surfing (or sport, shopping, American Idol... blah blah) is an intense distraction from the horror that is life for many.

My real concern is how numb to it we are when we do consider it. Darfur, Iraq wherever. Sure it is great we can read and watch these events unfold on the internet and television but no one really acts. Vietnam was the first war that was really covered by the television. There were no rules, everything was free game. All the horror. When people saw the GIs coming back in body bags, they kicked off. Look at this current fucking war and how there is no real visible outrage. I can't believe it some days. I can't believe I sit down and check the surf, worry about my job, my credit and so on, while that shit is going on.

So Ras, posts like this need to be made and I really look foward to getting your perspective on Jamaica for foulweather. I have even more faith now, that you'll come up with something good.